How To Stop Taking Things Personally: 34 Strategies That Work

This article has everything you need to know about how to stop taking things personally.

Do you feel worthless because of someone else’s ugly behavior? Do you misinterpret other people’s actions as subtle insults? In most cases, how someone behaves has little to do with you.

It has more to do with how that person was raised, how they deal with emotional problems or other factors such as their mood, energy level, or health. This is worth keeping in mind if you find yourself taking responsibility for events beyond your control.

Consider situational factors as well as the other person’s motivations and background to stop taking things so personally. Being able to deal with other people’s comments requires increased confidence and assertive communication.

How To Stop Taking Things Personally:

1. Think about what in your life has made you more sensitive.

Sensitivity may be the result of people being particularly hard or mean to you in the past, or of people abandoning you. Consider your upbringing, adolescence, and adulthood (if you had one).

Rejection, condemnation, and abandonment may have made you extremely sensitive to these things in the past.

People who grew up with extremely critical parents or caregivers may become overly sensitive as a result of their upbringing (and may exhibit signs of anxiety or depression).Unloading some of these emotions can help you understand why you feel the way you do.

2. Spend some time reflecting on why you feel and react the way you do.

What are you afraid of? Why are you so afraid of it? Think about this for a while. Because this can bring up strong emotions, even hidden ones, be prepared to work on this topic for weeks, months, or even years, with many breaks if you become overwhelmed.

Talking with a counselor or therapist may be beneficial.

3. Make a list of your strengths.

People’s opinions and actions are just so-so. If we are insecure and invest too much of our attention in the views and behaviors of others, we become more sensitive to their opinions.

When we are confident in our talents, rude behavior or an unfavorable opinion from another person will have less of an impact on us. It is more important to be proud and confident in your own abilities than to be concerned about the opinions of others.

Make a list of your qualities and skills to help remind yourself of who you are.

Make a list of things or events in your life that you are proud of. Reward yourself for your accomplishments. Think about what abilities you display in these situations. What are ways you can do more of these things? This will help you develop self-esteem.

Remember that being sensitive has its benefits—you can empathize better with other people’s interactions, for example.

4. Remind yourself of the ways you’ve helped others.

Giving back and helping others gives you a great feeling and a sense of purpose. It greatly helps with your confidence. Remind yourself of your contributions and the benefits you provide to others around you.

Consider volunteering at a shelter, school, or local humanitarian organization.

5. Make a list of objectives.

Having goals that you can work toward gives you a sense of self-worth and importance. These include areas in which you would like to grow or make progress.

Then, for each goal, break it down into smaller steps. How might you begin to achieve this goal? What could you do at this point?

6. Remind yourself that you don’t need the approval of others.

You can be very sensitive to rejection if you are very sensitive to how others treat you and often overreact. If you notice any form of dissatisfaction, you worry that you are doing something wrong and want to fix it.

However, it’s important to remember that just because someone doesn’t like you doesn’t mean you’ve done something wrong. It usually indicates that the person is unhappy with themselves and wants you to fill in their gaps (which is impossible).

To gradually increase your tolerance for rejection, try playing “rejection therapy.”

7. Seek the assistance of a mental health professional.

If you feel that you are overly sensitive to other people’s opinions, you may benefit from talking to a therapist. This person can help you identify factors that contribute to your hypersensitivity. He or she can also offer skills for dealing with unpleasant people.

8. Look for small ways to inject more optimism into your life.

Finding small ways to be optimistic can make you feel better about yourself and your situation. Try doing something simple that makes you feel better.

Smile. Smiling can improve your happiness, and it can also be contagious.

Keeping a gratitude journal is a good idea. Each evening, make a list of three positive events from your day or things you are grateful for.

Perform a random act of kindness for a stranger.

9. Surround yourself with positive people.

If you surround yourself with people who treat you well, you will gain more self-confidence and be happy.

Remove those who are poisoning your life. These are people who treat you badly or throw all their problems at you without any support in return.

SEE ALSO: How To Communicate Effectively With Others: 17-Step Guide

10. Be considerate of others.

Being kind to others, whether close friends or complete strangers, benefits both you and them. Listen carefully to others, perform random acts of kindness, and look for ways to make others happy. You’ll feel a little better after you leave work.

11. Look after your body.

Make an effort to take care of yourself and dress so that you can look your best. Make sure your clothes are clean and that you wear things you like. Donate or throw out mismatched or outdated clothing.

Maintaining proper posture can help you feel better.

12. Get outside.

Try to spend some time in nature each day. If possible, spend at least 20 minutes outside (1). People respond to nature in a relaxing and uplifting way, and this can help boost your mood.

13. Use your imagination.

Create and make things.It’s a fantastic feeling to make and create things. It’s amazing to grab hold of something you built from scratch! Enriching and training your intellect will lead you to be interested in new topics that spark your interest rather than outside interests like money or status.

Do something that gives you pleasure in itself (as opposed to doing it because of external rewards such as money or praise).

14. Engage in activities that make you feel happy or peaceful.

What makes you feel good? Make a list if you want. Try to do at least one of these activities each day.

15. Give yourself permission to not be joyful all the time.

It’s good to think positively, but it’s not practical to do so all the time, and that’s OK. Allow yourself the time and space to process uncomfortable feelings. It’s OK to have a bad day now and then.

Sometimes all you need to do is turn on melancholy music, stare out the window, and cry. Allow yourself to express your feelings. Chances are you’ll feel better afterwards.

Don’t blame yourself if you are unhappy. Everyone goes through difficult times and is affected by them. This is very normal. Allow yourself to be sad, angry, or unhappy for a while.

16. Protect yourself.

Speak up if you think another person is being rude or disrespectful to you. Let someone know how you feel. For example, if that person is always making offensive comments, They may not understand how harsh or hostile they seem or how their words affect you.

17. Use “I” sentences as often as possible.

Using “I” sentences indicates that you are willing to accept responsibility for your own thoughts and actions. This keeps the focus on you and your emotions, rather than the other person, so they don’t feel attacked. Nonviolent communication is a practice that can be beneficial.

Consider the following scenario: “You are incredibly mean and trying to hurt me on purpose!” is not an “I” statement. An “I” statement: “When you say things like that, it hurts me.” 

See the difference?

18. Approaching the subject calmly

Attacking the other person will almost certainly be ineffective. Keep a cool head and explain that you are trying to have a conversation. Instead of fighting with the other person, try to express your feelings.

Try to maintain some emotional distance from the other person. Pay attention to how you are experiencing the discussion with them, and if it is bad, try to counteract it.

SEE ALSO: How To Stay Positive During Difficult Times: 10 Inspiring Ways

19. Use body language that is appropriate to the situation.

Pay attention to how you hold your body during assertive communication. Maintain a neutral tone and a calm voice. Maintain eye contact with the other person. Relax your facial expressions and body posture.

20. Recognize when you are not making progress.

“I” statements and polite, non-aggressive discussion will elicit a positive response from most people. Some people may get annoyed, so if the discussion is not progressing, it’s time to walk away. You can try again later, or just avoid the person.

21. Accept that some people are abusive.

They may humiliate you, blame you for everything, or undermine your emotions, which is an example of emotional abuse. When you are with such a person, you may feel scared, weary, anxious, threatened, or insecure. If this is the case, this person is very toxic and you should avoid any contact with them.

Think about how you would feel if someone else was treated the same way you were. What would you think if he or she had to go through this? What would you say to such a person? Relate to yourself with the same kindness and consideration.

Ask for help if you are unsure about something or if you have a medical condition that affects your social judgment. Put your faith in someone you can trust and look for information about this type of abuse online.

22. Evaluate the circumstances.

We may take things too personally and blame ourselves for someone else’s terrible behavior.

For example, if the wrong cake was chosen for someone’s birthday celebration, the sad and agitated birthday boy may yell at his father, “You ruined everything!”

The key is to examine the problem and recognize that the other person’s beleaguered behavior is most likely related to hormones, life changes, or your own inability to control your emotional reactions when expectations are not met. It is highly unlikely that it has anything to do with cake or parenting.

23. Be careful not to overstate the circumstances.

Sometimes we may overinterpret a situation based on past experiences or preconceptions about particular people. As a result, we distort the situation instead of honestly examining the facts. Examine the matter with a critical eye.

Don’t make snap judgments. Don’t overanalyze the issue. Don’t act as if the world is ending. Is the situation really that bad? Avoid assuming that things will “always” or “never” happen.

24. Ask for clarification.

Consider asking the person to clarify what they mean if you hear something that offends or alienates you. You may have misunderstood what the person meant or misheard the person.

For example,

“Could you kindly elaborate on that point? I am not sure I understand what you are saying. “

“I think I misheard. Could you please elaborate on that again? “

25. Assume the other person is just having a bad day.

If you tend to take things personally, you’re more likely to believe someone is trying to hurt you when they might just be joking or having a terrible day. It may be natural to react emotionally, but take a moment to think about it. It may not be about you.

Think about a bad day you experienced in the past. Is it possible that this person is experiencing a similar day today?

Recognize that she or he may view the incident as a mistake. We all say things that we later regret, and it is possible that this is one of them.

26. Recognize your sensitive tender points.

You may be particularly susceptible to certain triggers. For example, you may be really sensitive about your manual skills because your father constantly criticized you for not being able to help him fix his car.

Once you identify your triggers (2), you will be able to recognize when you are taking things too personally.

27. Take a moment to refocus.

When you take things personally, you focus on how you feel, not on what someone said or did. If you focus on those feelings, they will get stronger and stronger. You may even find yourself rehearsing what you would say to that person if you had the chance.

Ruminating is the term that describes this. There are several techniques that can help you stop ruminating about a problem. Here are some examples:

Try meditation techniques. Being present in the moment will distract you from the past moment you are ruminating about.

Take a walk. Change your surroundings to take your thoughts away from the problem.

Agree with yourself to take a break from worrying. Allow yourself 20 minutes of worrying about something. After the 20 minutes are up, move on to something else.

SEE ALSO: How To Do Something You Don’t Want To Do: 16 Quick Tips

28. Consider others’ feelings.

After a terrible day, some people may react angrily to certain circumstances or behave inappropriately. In this case, their anger is directed at anyone who gets in their way and has nothing to do with you. When people react aggressively, it is usually not because of you. Maybe:

They’ve had a rough day.

They have dealt with difficult people before.

They’ve been reminded of an unpleasant situation.

They are unable to control their anger, fear, or other emotions.

29. Take into account how this person interacts with others.

He or she may ridicule or insult everyone he or she comes into contact with. Some people are just inherently mean. Think about the following questions:

What is this person’s social behavior? Is this person like this with everyone (or almost everyone)? What is the essence of their communication with people?

30. Consider the person’s weaknesses.

Is it possible that he or she sees you as a threat? If this is the case, don’t feel terrible about being yourself. Consider how you can help this person feel more positive in their own skin.

If possible, give this person a compliment or ask if they would like to talk about something.

31. Consider the other person’s emotion management skills.

Keep in mind that the other person may lack communication and emotional management skills. Some people will never learn how to effectively communicate, express, and control their emotions.

This is worth keeping in mind because it allows for patience and empathy, much like a young child who has not yet learned how to manage and express their emotions.

Consider that a person’s inner child is behaving this way because he or she has not yet learned to maturely handle situations. When you imagine them as a child who is responsible for their behavior, it is much easier to be patient and kind.

32. Recognize the other person’s background.

Some people are socially maladjusted or have a different set of social skills and conventions than others. When someone is not trying to be unpleasant or even unkind, they may give that impression.

Some people behave in certain ways without being aware of how their actions are perceived. This is not a cold or obsequious attitude directed at you.

For example, someone from a foreign culture who is more reserved may appear cold or aloof.

Certain disorders, such as autism or intellectual disabilities, can make people unaware of social cues and accents in speech. When they are unaware, they may appear insensitive or unkind.

Some people may be unaware that their “joking” behavior offends others.

33. Determine if the criticism is helpful or not.

An action designed to give you feedback is called “constructive criticism.” It is not a judgment or criticism of your character or self-worth. It is simple for the person doing the criticizing to point out areas that need improvement.

However, sometimes we fail to praise someone for how brilliant they are. Constructive feedback should include specific and measurable strategies for improvement.

This is the opposite of unconstructive criticism, which can simply be a bad statement with no suggestions for improvement.

34. When you hear criticism, ask questions.

Ask the person what they mean when you hear criticism, especially if there are no helpful suggestions. This shows that you respect the person’s input and is a subtle technique to help them develop the ability to give constructive feedback.

I want to thank you for taking the time to read my article about how to stop taking things personally. I sincerely hope its contents have been a good help to you.

Przemkas Mosky
Przemkas Mosky started Perfect 24 Hours in 2017. He is a Personal Productivity Specialist, blogger and entrepreneur. He also works as a coach assisting people to increase their motivation, social skills or leadership abilities. Read more here